The problem with comfort food is that so often it takes a while to prepare. There can be comfort in the preparation, of course; solace can be found in the stirring of sauces and in the methodical chopping of vegetables. If you like cooking, that is. I am well aware that not all will find it soothing to assemble a lasagna from scratch or to create the perfectly seasoned sauce.
This dish combines the warm hug that comfort food brings with a simplicity that will ease the stress of even a novice cook, still trying to navigate their way around the kitchen. If you've spent any time on the Internet in the last few months, you've probably seen Martha Stewart's recipe for 'One Pot Pasta', and numerous food bloggers' attempts to make it their own. This is one such attempt.
With weeks of dissertation disasters stretching out across the summer, One Pot Pasta became my go-to dish. Quick and simple to whip up in the midst of referencing and word counts, this is not a dish which is taxing on your skill or time. However, despite it's simplicity, it manages to fulfil that niche of food which nourishes your heart as well as your stomach. It's as carb-happy as the next pasta dish, but with a swirl of cream and a kick of chilli to keep things interesting. Plus, it's still better for you than a packet of Super Noodles.
I've been trying out a few different variations, and I think this is my favourite. This One Pot Pasta thing can be kind of addictive; it goes against your better instincts - that pasta should be cooked separately and drained - but it somehow comes together into a thing of beauty. If you're feeling adventurous, you can spend hours trying out different things, but the basics will remain the same. Tomatoes, onion, pasta, water and seasoning. Back to basics cooking which allows you to add your own creative flair. Some lemon zest and half a tin of tuna stirred through right at the end would make a summery dish fit for lazy August afternoons (sadly now departed), whilst a handful of cooked prawns and some fresh rocket would elevate this dish to dinner party fodder.
This recipe serves just one, but it can easily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, depending on how many hearts and mouths you need to feed. This dish is truly your oyster.
- 2 handfuls of penne
- 12-15 cherry tomatoes - halved
- Small wedge of onion - finely chopped
- Sprinkle of dried oregano
- Big sprinkle of dried chilli flakes
- Lots of basil, shredded
- Salt and pepper
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 200ml boiling water
- Swirl of double cream
- Parmesan to serve
2. Cover and bring to the boil.
3. After a couple of minutes, remove the lid and turn down the heat a little
4. Simmer until the pasta is cooked to your liking, stirring regularly so the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
5. Pour in the cream and stir through. Keep on the heat for a minute or so until the whole dish is piping hot.
6. Serve with some grated parmesan and extra basil on top.